Wednesday, August 31, 2011

S’BU ZIKODE FROM SOUTH AFRICAN SHACKDWELLERS ORGANISATION SPEAKS FRIDAY


GPJA Special September Forum: 7pm, Friday 2nd September, Unite Office, 6A Western Springs Road, Kingsland

Special Guest S’bu Zikode from the South African Shackdwellers organisation is arriving for a two week visit to coincide with events to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Springbok tour protests. The Skackdwellers organisation, Abahlali baseMjondolo, is the largest organisation of the poor in South Africa and fights for the right to housing and basic amenities such as water and electricity. S’bu will speak about South Africa 17 years after the election of the first democratic South African government and will show the award-winning video Dear Mandela. This will be an occasion to welcome him to New Zealand. S’bu will also be speaking at the Auckland anniversary event on Sunday, September 11th (Gather at Eden Park gates Walters Road at 12noon).

Abahlali baseMjondolo (Zulu: [aɓaˈɬaːli ɓasɛmdʒɔnˈdɔːlo], Shack Dwellers), also known as AbM or the red shirts is a shack-dwellers' movement in South Africa which is well known for its campaigning for public housing. The movement grew out of a road blockade organized from the Kennedy Road shack settlement in the city of Durban in early 2005 and now also operates in the cities of Pietermaritzburg and in Cape Town. It is the largest shack dweller's organization in South Africa and campaigns to improve the living conditions of poor people and to democratize society from below. The movement refuses party politics, boycotts elections and has a history of conflict with both the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance. Its key demand is that the social value of urban land should take priority over its commercial value and it campaigns for the public expropriation of large privately owned landholdings. The key organising strategy is to try "to recreate Commons" from below by trying to create a series of linked communes. According to The Times, the movement "has shaken the political landscape of South Africa." According to Professor Peter Vale, Abahlali baseMjondolo is "along with the Treatment Action Campaign the most effective grouping in South African civil society." However the movement has faced considerable repression.

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